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President Kennedy Address Cuban Refugees at Miami’s Orange Bowl Stadium

Dec. 29, 1962 - President Kennedy stopped considerably short of declaring war on Fidel Castro in his fiery appearance before Miami’s Cuban refugees today, but before his speech at the Orange Bowl Stadium was ended, they were shouting “Guerra! Guerra!” (War! War!) with fanatic enthusiasm. With an emotionalism he has seldom displayed, Mr. Kennedy told 40,000 Cubans as well as the survivors of the Bay of Pigs invasion that his Administration was committed to the freedom of Cuba from the Castro regime and foreign domination. To the 6 million Cubans still on the island, whom he described as being “in a very real sense in prison,” he extended the hand of friendship and the idea of revolt. To the refugees, split into factions, unsure of their future, he had two specific messages. One was a reminder that all the great Latin American liberators — Bolivar, Juarez, San Martin — had suffered exile before victory. The other was the advice to “submerge momentary differences in a common united front” and “to keep alive the spirit” of Brigade 2506, the Bay of Pigs invaders.


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